But the fact that it had so many miles showing soon proved a point we’ve often made about the way diesel engines mellow with age.
From the first time it was fired up, the 105bhp 1.9-litre TDI engine has behaved with the extra degree of smoothness that comes from a unit that is fully bedded-in.
And as the mileage now approaches 20,000, the Skoda is continuing to impress. Unless it is driven in manic fashion, it returns 55mpg, a figure likely to make the Octavia one of the cars of choice with company accounts departments. Even in press-on conditions, it still returns on the better side of 50mpg.
That kind of parsimony also makes it a winner when you’re paying for your own fuel, of course, and economy of this order prompts me to wonder if this isn’t the most economical vehicle of its type currently available in the UK.
Our Ambiente spec car has the comfort to go with its space and scores particularly high marks for rear seat accommodation.
I’m starting to regard this Skoda as being in a class of its own for all-round value. If there’s a better package on offer, I’d love to hear about it.
Model: Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI Ambiente
Price (OTR): £13,800
CO2 emissions (g/km): 143
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £45 per month
Insurance group: 7E
Combined mpg: 53.3
Test mpg: 55
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,550/33%
HSBC contract hire rate: £287
Expenditure to date: Nil